Starstruck – Glossy Ibis Sighting in Chatham

I had my first sighting yesterday of a glorious new bird that has now utterly captured my imagination.

I was up on what I call “Osprey Hill” photographing fledgling ospreys as they practiced their aerial maneuvers near one of the nests.

Just as I was leaving the Hill I spotted a nice group of Snowies and Great Egrets out in the tidal pools below, fishing.

But there was something different about this group – a much darker wading bird was among them!

Later on I discovered that I had just seen my very first Glossy Ibis!

But it was about to get so much better.

I also came upon a lovely pair of them when I was heading back to my car at Forest Beach marsh.

Glossy Ibises are a large bird, measuring anywhere from 19-26 inches with distinctive football-shaped bodies and long, curved olive-brown bills.

Their scientific name, Plegadis falcinellus, is derived from the Ancient Green and Latin words meaning “sickle”, which is certainly easy to understand why!

And although they appear black in the distance or in shadows, their bodies are actually a deep chestnut color with iridescent green-purple-metallic wings and tail, reddish-brown neck, brown legs and feet.

These were backlit when I saw them, but I could see flashes of color as I clicked away madly on my camera.

Using their long curved bills which are perfectly suited to the task, they probe the muddy, shallow waters of salt marshes to find crayfish, snails, small fish, insects and frogs.

Those on Atlantic Coast live mainly in Florida and Louisiana, however I’ve learned that they sometimes breed here on Monomoy Island and are occasional visitors in spring and late summer in our mainland salt marshes as well.

I couldn’t help but notice that one of our resident crows was none too happy to pose with these statuesque dark birds.

How I do love our little rascal photo bombers, always mugging for the camera!  😉

I sure hope I get another chance to visit with these birds before they fly south for the winter months.

But one thing’s for certain.

There’s but one word to describe how I feel right now, and that is SWOON…


Sun Rising at Forest Beach – August 7, 2018

I hadn’t been to Forest Beach to see the sunrise in a long, long time.

And yesterday’s rising, did not disappoint.

At that early hour, you could juuust make out the shapes in the far osprey nest in the marsh.

By the time I had made my way down to the shore, the sun had cleared the treetops and was lazily hovering over the houses that line the beach.

Its glowing radiance echoed in the gentle waves spilling toward shore…

In the windows of a nearby beach house…

And on the bellies of the stints that were feeding and preening at the water’s edge.

It was the kind of sunrise that made you so grateful for the quiet.

The kind you can only truly relish, when all is still and hushed.

When I finally headed back to my car, I could see the sun out beyond the marsh, continuing its slow rise through the hot, humid air.

Oh to be an osprey, I whispered, Out there in the marsh!

Wakening to such magic, each and every morning…  ❤

My Mystery Shore Bird – July Sighting, Forest Beach

I came upon a small flock of shore birds the other morning.

As the group scootled in and out among the waves, I thought at first they might be Sanderlings, out looking for breakfast.

But as I got closer, it seemed that these birds were “browner”, and more scallop-feathered than the gray-black-white palette of the Sanderlings.

And if it’s possible, they moved even more quickly than Sanderlings, which is no small feat.

Rarely, did I ever capture more than one of them in focus.   😉

This one might look like it’s dozing, but after spending some time with these birds I began to wonder if they ever sit still, let alone sleep!  😉

I am thinking it could be the Red-necked Stints, or even perhaps the Little Stints.

If anyone out there thinks they might know what kind of bird this is, please leave me a comment with your ideas.

But whoever they are…

I am totally smitten…  ❤

The Beauty of Cloudy Skies

We’ve had a long stretch of real cloudy skies of late at Forest Beach, with clouds hanging heavy over the landscape.

Yet on days like these,  I find a different kind of beauty that doesn’t need any sunshine on days…

To make it come alive with color and light.

Sun or no sun, I just have to keep showing up.   ❤